Cable Internet Providers

Cable internet is one of the most popular types of internet for residential, urban, and even many rural areas. It’s fast, stable, and pairs well with a Cable TV plan for many households. This guide will walk you through what you need to know about Cable providers, their pros and cons, and what you can expect from a Cable internet service.

Provider Max Download Speed Up To
Charter Spectrum 100 Mbps View Plans
Windstream 100Mbps or higher View Plans
Comcast 2,000 Mbps View Plans
Cox 1,000 Mbps View Plans
WOW 1,000 Mbps View Plans
Mediacom 100 Mbps View Plans
Cable One/Sparklight 200 Mbps View Plans
SuddenLink 1,000 Mbps View Plans

What is Cable internet?

Cable internet is a form of broadband that transmits a wide variety of signals quickly and efficiently through the same coaxial cable network as Cable television to provide your home with internet. In most cases, Cable internet is much faster than other forms of internet (i.e. DSL or satellite), though those have their own use cases where they shine.

Fiber Optic internet is generally faster than Cable, but as of now, Fiber Optic internet coverage is not as widely available across the nation, and is often much more expensive than Cable internet. For your everyday basic internet connectivity needs of a household or small business, Cable internet is often one of the best options for the price.

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How does Cable internet work?

Cable internet makes use of the infrastructure already in place thanks to Cable TV. Most homes are built with the coaxial cable hookups that Cable internet uses to plug into the wider network, thanks to the high demand for Cable TV occurring the past few decades. So, Cable providers are able to attach the internet Cable line to the existing hookup, connecting you to your wider neighborhood and regional service provider hub. On the user end, your internet Cable connection is hooked up to your modem or WiFi router. These devices are the gateway that allow you to connect a device to the internet. WiFi routers take the broadband signal carried through the coaxial cable and amplify it as a radio signal, which can be picked up by WiFi-enabled devices.

Cable internet

What are the pros and cons of
Cable internet?

Cable internet is one of the most commonly used and reliable forms of internet provider hardware. It’s distributed widely due to its relative ease of connectivity, and many find it convenient to bundle together their Cable TV and Cable internet service providers. Before you go ahead and start looking for the best Cable internet provider, though, it’s smart to thoroughly understand the pros and cons.

Advantages of Cable internet

  • Faster speeds: When it comes to Cable vs satellite internet, or even Cable vs DSL or mobile broadband, Cable internet has much faster speeds. Depending on your budget and personal needs, you can get Cable internet speeds anywhere from 50 Mbps to 2,000 Mbps. The average household usually only needs between 50 and 200, depending on size and habits (gaming and video uploading take more), so Cable internet is the go-to pick for households.
  • Widely available: Most homes are fitted with the necessary attachments for the coaxial internet Cable needed to provide Cable internet, and most cities and towns already possess the infrastructure needed to provide residents with Cable services. Cable internet is also relatively inexpensive. These three factors mean that Cable internet providers are able to serve their product to a large portion of the population — over 80%, by some estimates.
  • Durable even in storms: Satellite internet often suffers during rough weather, as the signal is interrupted by the unfavorable conditions, increasing lag and latency for users. Cable internet, however, is often housed underground, so it is usually unaffected by inclement weather.

Disadvantages of Cable internet

  • Not available in some rural areas: While Cable broadband is available in most of the USA, there are some exceptions. Some rural areas, underserved communities, and areas in the backcountry are not accessible Cable. This means that, for users in those areas, an option like satellite may be preferable. You can check this map to find out more about broadband coverage in your area.
  • Requires Cable connection: If, for some reason, your home is not fitted with the necessary Cable connections, you will need to first have these installed before Cable internet service can be hooked up. That could add to the installation price, and is something to watch out for if you live in an older home.
  • Not as fast as Fiber Optic: Fiber Optic internet is the way of the future. Its speed, versatility, and efficiency outpace all other internet provider options—but at a hefty price. If you run a large business that traffics in significant amounts of data, it may be worth investing in a Fiber Optic connection, as Cable connections might simply be too slow.

What are the best Cable internet providers?

The best Cable providers in your area may vary, as not every provider is available in every part of the country. However, common providers widely available in the US include:

  • Cox
  • Spectrum
  • Optimum
  • Xfinity
  • Verizon

There are also countless local providers as well. You can search local Cable internet providers online and find the service, price point, and speed level that works best for your situation. Be sure to read reviews before committing, however, as not all providers are equal—even ones that claim to offer the same service.

How fast is Cable internet?

Cable internet comes in a wide variety of speed levels, usually measured in Mbps, or megabits per second. The exact speed level you need will depend on your internet habits. In general, however, Cable internet is some of the fastest on the modern market. DSL tends to be older and clunkier, and Satellite, though it has the farthest reach, is more susceptible to lag and weather-related disruptions.

Here are a few different speed ranges you’re likely to encounter, and the type of typical usage that you can expect with them:

  • 20 - 50 Mbps: Great for light browsing, email, and some video streaming
  • 50 - 100 Mbps: Suitable for multiplayer online gaming, streaming, video calls, and more
  • 100 - 200 Mbps: Full 4K HD video streaming, high-graphics online gaming, multiple video calls
  • 200+ Mbps: Small to medium business Cable speeds, suitable for multiple people simultaneously engaging in high-bandwidth internet usage

Cable internet installation

In many cases, Cable internet installation is fairly simple. That’s because most homes and buildings already have the necessary hookups that the coaxial cable hardware can be fitted to, thanks to the widespread popularity of Cable TV. Usually, when you first subscribe to a new Cable provider, the company will send a specialist out to your home to install your Cable, modem, and router for you. The process usually takes at most a couple of hours. In some cases, more work may need to be done. If you don’t already have the necessary hookups in your home, you may need to have those installed first. Be sure to speak with your provider about any additional cost this may incur before you commit to your plan.

Cable Internet Frequently Asked Questions

How much is Cable internet per month?

Cable internet prices vary depending on your geographic location, the internet speeds you desire, and whether you’ve decided to bundle your internet service with phone and TV. Prices range from $30 a month for a more introductory plan in a more inexpensive area, to upwards of $100 a month for a high-speed, full-service plan.

Can I add Cable internet to my TV service?

Many companies allow you to bundle multiple media services together, like phone, internet, and TV. Call your Cable provider to find out whether they offer these services, and whether there are any deals available for those who bundle services together.

Is Cable internet fastest?

Cable internet is among the fastest options out there. Coaxial cables are capable of transmitting higher Mbps than satellite or DSL connections are often able to. However, Fiber Optic internet is the fastest variety of internet currently on the market.